Many of you know that I recently took a trip to London to visit my older son Ben who is there studying abroad. I was fortunate enough to have my younger son Will join me, along with his girlfriend and my sister in law. It was actually my second time in London, the first being a quick 2-day run-through during one crazy summer back in my college days. If any of you have ever had the experience of traveling with a Eurail pass, you likely know it’s all about how many countries you can squeeze in in a matter of weeks, not always about the quality of time! So I was happy to revisit the city under calmer/saner circumstances.
Here are a couple of pics – the scenery one was taken on top of St Paul’s Cathedral, where we climbed about 530 steps to get to the tippy top! The views were incredible.
Needless to say, the trip was fabulous. So many great sites to see and it was incredibly special to have this experience with my kids. As they get older, there are less and less opportunities to have them close at hand (sniff sniff).
But as a health nut, one of the most challenging things when traveling is managing food. And this trip was no exception. We did not have a fridge in the room, so were dependent on eating all of our meals from restaurants, cafes, and outdoor markets. Out the window went my morning smoothies, chia puddings, green salads with homemade dressing, etc. I did my best to order healthy foods for the most part (at this point that’s basically just ingrained)! But since I try not to stress out over veering off my eating schedule when traveling, I thoroughly enjoyed myself and indulged in beer, morning ham and cheese on flatbread, Shepherd’s pie, and Bangers and mash (potatoes and sausage). Ok YES it was delicious (and I walked a TON which helped keep my weight in check). But I certainly was not eating the abundance of fruits and veggies that I normally eat, or my carefully planned well balanced meals (often equally delicious!) that keep me energized and fueled for the day.
SO though the temporary break from cooking was a nice respite, I was certainly happy get back to my kitchen and my homemade food. And it made me realize how easy it is to get off track, not only when traveling but also when faced with a hectic lifestyle. So I thought it would be a good idea to write about the benefits of eating at home. You know, WHY home cooking is so much healthier, and WHY it’s important to prioritize home cooked meals.
8 TOP BENEFITS OF COOKING AT HOME
Busy family schedules and/or late work nights are often common excuses for favoring eating out versus dining in. That means more trips local restaurants or last minute phone calls for greasy take out. Stephanie and I always tell our clients “if your stove is gathering dust, your wallet is not be the only thing suffering.” Eating out frequently takes a toll on your weight and your health. So the next time you find yourself making an excuse to abandon your kitchen, take the following reminders into account.
What you see is what you get: At home, you know exactly what ingredients are used to prepare your meal. In addition, you also have total control over how much spice, oil, sugar, or salt is added. And little risk of food dyes or chemicals sneaking in.
Portion control: Restaurants are known for huge portions. Though it’s possible to bring home a doggie bag, it can be challenging to stop eating when you still have food on your plate. When serving at home, it’s easier to dole out a smaller portion – knowing you can go back for more. Trouble with portions? Check out this article.
Healthier options: Though most restaurants offer a few healthy meals, the temptation to order more processed, higher refined carb or fried meals usually wins out in the end. And lets not forget about the temptation of desserts and/or alcohol. When you cook nutritious meals at home, you automatically eliminate the unhealthy choices.
Money savings: Eating out on a regular basis is expensive. Feeding a family of four salad and chili will cost you an average of $15. Going out for the same meal will be at least double to triple that price. And remember when you eat at home, you don’t have to tip.
Time saver: Eating at home can often be more of a timesaver than eating out. If you have a well stocked kitchen, you can cook up an easy meal in minutes. That means no car trips, parking problems, or bad service. And most importantly by cooking extra, you can save your leftovers for a quick and easy lunch or dinner the next day.
Long term health care savings: Consistently eating highly processed, fried and sugary foods can lead to obesity and heart disease, among other chronic issues. Eating healthier, home-cooked meals and adopting a healthier lifestyle will leave you less likely to develop health conditions. This can save you a lot of money in the future on health care related costs and prescriptions!
Role modeling: Kids tend to model the behavior of their parents. So if you are constantly eating out, your kids are likely to adopt that habit as well. Cooking at home affords more opportunities for teaching your kids about healthy habits. They can also get involved in the preparation.
Creativity and satisfaction: Eating at home can bring out your creative side, as you have to come up with varied ideas for what to cook. And don’t rule out the added benefit of how good it feels to prepare wholesome, home cooked meals for you and your family.
So let us know – how do you handle eating away from home? Do you struggle on vacations? Is it hard to get back into a routine after being away? Share your thoughts with us!